Volume 20, Issue 7 - Friday, February 18, 2022
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
A law that people know well, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), was passed by Congress more than three decades ago. Now, however, it has moved to center stage in the public arena because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). A significant portion of the massive funding bill is specifically earmarked for ADA compliance projects, but federal funding allocations for ADA compliance may not be the most significant fact to know.

A more important alert is that the federal government, through the infrastructure bill, will aggressively push ADA compliance. Public officials at all jurisdictions of government either realize, or soon will understand, that certain conditions attached to the $1.2 trillion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) may withhold funding if ADA requirements are not met.

A sum of $1.75 billion in competitive grants from the BIL will provide funding to state or local governments for ADA compliance at stations along legacy rail fixed guideway systems. At the same time, local public entities violating ADA compliance can be fined $75,000 for their first incident and $150,000 for any additional ones.

Based on recommendations from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Coastal Resilience Study (GIWW-CRS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the Galveston District designated a Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) to increase coastal resilience along the waterway that stretches from Texas to Florida.

The third-busiest inland navigation waterway in the country is becoming increasingly vulnerable to changes in climatic conditions. The study found that volatile coastal storms have eroded shorelines and barrier islands that once protected vessels navigating the waterway. In addition, deposits of eroded shoreline have been the source of frequent unintentional groundings and other safety concerns.

To remedy these issues, USACE’s plan will include measures in Texas such as shoreline stabilization and sediment placement in areas of accelerated erosion spread among 20 zones, including 85 miles of coastline in Brazoria and Matagorda counties. In addition, the plan will aim to provide 2,100 acres of new and restored barrier island protections in these zones - among other measures - for a total cost of $251.8 million.

As USACE moves toward the preliminary engineering and design phase later this spring, it will continue to draw on findings from the GIWW-CRS as it identifies potential mitigation sites and refines the plan’s expected impact acreage.
As the SPI Team’s Content Marketing Strategist, Jessica Feilmeier’s responsibilities include working with the research team, the newsletter editor, clients, and the many industry groups who depend on SPI to provide articles and updates on federal funding programs, government trends, upcoming contracting opportunities, and statewide news. The information that is shared by SPI team members covers all 50 states and all jurisdictions within the states.

Jessica will also handle advertising and be responsible for subscribing new readers to SPI’s two weekly digital newsletters.

Jessica previously worked with a national law firm that had a practice that was targeted to the government marketplace. She was responsible for the firm’s digital and content marketing initiatives, its branding efforts, and the firm’s marketing outreach to public officials. Prior to that, she spent several years providing digital marketing assistance for two separate industry sectors in Colorado.

She received her bachelor's degree in mass communication with a minor in speech and communication studies from Colorado Mesa University.
Prior to joining SPI, Cristian worked as a sales consultant for a Fortune 500 company. It was there that he honed his communication skills and gained experience in sales and presentation delivery. His love of the government marketplace, however, has been a driving motivating factor for many years.

In Virginia, Christian gained political experience by advocating for equitable public-school funding for first-generation, immigrant communities in the northern part of the Commonwealth.

In addition, he learned about local government and politics as he attended coalition meetings with advocates and communicated with citizens and elected officials. He gained more experience in strategy development as he helped pass legislation to assist marginalized students.

While attending George Mason University, Cristian also advocated for education in numerous ways. He canvassed neighborhoods for local candidates committed to the improvement of K-12 education and student safety. He also conducted research and gained expertise through database searches on everything from municipal and state legislation to constitutional analysis.

Cristian’s career to this point has helped him develop exceptional expertise in the areas of communication, marketing, research, leadership, and government. His education credentials (business administration and government) include a degree at Texas State University.
Hannah Garcia joined the SPI Team as a Research Analyst. She has a well-founded government background, having worked in the Texas House of Representatives where she held numerous roles of responsibility. She was able to work on the passage of bills from conception through the political process to the final bill signing process. She also was tasked with working to bolster repair efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Later, Hannah served as a policy and government affairs specialist for the Real Estate Council of Austin. In that capacity she was involved in many diverse issues related to the commercial development community. She gained extensive knowledge of local government processes, urban planning, and the technical processes associated with land development. Throughout her career, Hannah honed her research skills and became extremely adapt in information gathering of all types.

Hannah holds a bachelor’s degree in government from The University of Texas at Austin.
Texas ranks among the top three states for best bridge conditions in the country, but the newly released 2022 Bridge Report by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) indicates more Texas bridges are deteriorating.

Of the 55,175 bridges in Texas, 789, or 1.4 percent, are classified as structurally deficient. This is up from 632 bridges classified as structurally deficient in 2017. Forty-four of the structurally deficient bridges are on the Interstate Highway System.

The association analyzed data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) National Bridge Inventory to profile each state’s bridge conditions. FHWA applies a rating of structurally deficient to a bridge when one of the key structural elements — the deck, superstructure, substructure or culverts, are rated in poor or worse condition.

Texas has identified needed repairs on 11,493 bridges at an estimated cost of $5.62 billion. Of the top 10 most-traveled bridges, six are in Harris County.

Built in 1973, the Interstate 610 bridge over the Houston Ship Channel is deemed to be structurally deficient. It carries the most daily crossings at 171,423. One of the oldest bridges among the most traveled structurally deficient spans is the Interstate 10 Westbound bridge over McCarty Street and U.S. 90A. It was built in 1958 and transports 92,413 daily crossings.
Klein ISD trustees called a $1.1 billion bond election for May 7 comprising four propositions for school construction, technology, a new district events center, and a new districtwide stadium.

The board commissioned a community-led Bond Steering Committee in 2021 to develop a long-term capital program via a bond package that provides students with modern classrooms and innovative programs.

Proposition A would provide $843.8 million to improve safety and security at all schools, build an 11th intermediate school, address growth and capacity challenges at Klein Cain and Klein Oak high schools, modernize and restore aging schools that are more than 50 years old. The proposition would also fund renovations at all schools and upgrades for academic, arts, and athletic spaces. Funds would also be used for additional safety and security measures at every school.

Proposition B would allocate $51.5 million for technology devices for classroom instruction, including student, teacher, and staff devices.

Proposition C would designate $131.3 million for a new district events center with seating for more than 8,000 that would be used for indoor graduations, academic events, fine arts performances, athletic competitions, robotics tournaments, and career and technology exhibitions. The events center would also provide a place to host large indoor events, concerts, and festivals.

Proposition D would provide updated training and competition spaces for student-athletes and students. It would provide $75.2 million for a new 8,000-seat district stadium along with renovations to the 55-year-old Klein Memorial Stadium complex.
Ruth Simmons
President
Prairie View A&M University
Public career highlights and education: I have served as president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. I also served as president of Brown University, an Ivy League institution. I now serve as president of Prairie View A&M University. I also chair the Holdsworth Center board which advocates for improved public school leadership.

What I like best about my public service is: The opportunity to support programs that benefit a wide range of individuals. From public schools that provide greater access to public universities that afford opportunities for the economically disadvantaged, a fair and just society requires us to pay attention to the needs of the many rather than the few.

The best advice I’ve received is: From my mother. Do not be afraid to be fully who you are and never lose the sense of who you truly are. Use all of your experience and identity to help advance society because improving society requires the many different talents and perspectives among us.

My favorite ways to de-stress are: Reading books and enjoying cultural events.

People might be surprised to know that I: Am an introvert.

One thing I wish more people knew about Prairie View A&M is: We are a multi-faceted complex institution offering a wide range of programs. I’d like them to be aware of the excellence that we have developed over the 144-year history of the university.
Texas could receive up to $408 million in funding to bolster its electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure over the next five years through a new $5 billion federal formula program.

U.S. departments of transportation and energy will make the funding available under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build out a national electric vehicle charging network.

The program will help states create a network of EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, particularly along the Interstate Highway System. The total amount available to states in Fiscal Year 2022 under the NEVI Formula Program is $615 million, of which Texas could receive $60.35 million.

Before they can access these funds, states must submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan to the new Joint Office of Energy and Transportation that describes how the state intends to use its share of NEVI program funds consistent with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidance.

Plans must be submitted to the Joint Office by August 1. The FHWA will approve eligible plans by September 30. A second, competitive grant program designed to further increase EV charging access in locations throughout the country, including in rural and underserved communities, will be announced later in 2022.
Harris County Flood Control District is finishing preliminary designs for the $237 million design-bid-build Clear Creek Federal Project and anticipates beginning the procurement process this summer or fall for the final designs.

The district plans to host a public meeting this spring to discuss the updated project scope adopted by Harris County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The scope continues to remain concentrated on channel conveyance improvements; however, additional mitigation components are being added to the project footprint to ensure no adverse impacts.

Plans call for construction and improvements of:
  • 2nd Outlet Channel and Gates from Clear Creek to Galveston Bay (already complete). 
  • 15.1 miles of channel conveyance improvements along Clear Creek from State Highway 288 to FM 1959. 
  • 2.4 miles of channel conveyance improvements along Turkey Creek from FM 1959 to Clear Creek. 
  • 2.1 miles of channel conveyance improvements along Mary's Creek from Harkey Road to State Highway 35. 
  • 0.8 miles of channel conveyance improvements along Mud Gully from Sagedowne Lane to Beamer Road. 
  • 500 acre-feet of in-line stormwater detention along Clear Creek. 
  • Additional offline stormwater detention basins. 
  • 17 bridge replacements or modifications. 
  • Environmental mitigation and enhancements. 

When complete, the project is expected to help reduce the risk of flooding for thousands of homes and businesses within the Clear Creek watershed, primarily between State Highway 288 and Interstate 45.

Construction bidding for the first Clear Creek reach is expected in 2025 with completion scheduled for 2029.
The city of Lubbock and its transit provider are seeking vendor and agency participation in a request for information (RFI) on the current state of mass transit fare collection technology.

Lubbock intends to outfit its provider’s fixed route fleet with new fare collection equipment, and the provider seeks to gain a more thorough understanding of fare collection technology.

Of particular interest is a solution’s capability to expand options for riders to purchase fares, aid a seamless boarding experience, and generate the most accurate ridership and revenue data for in-depth analysis and financial reporting.

Other areas of interest are account-based fare payment methods, various fare media options, automatic fare collection systems, and integration with other third-party applications, such as real-time bus trackers and micro-transit services.

Lubbock will close the solicitation at 3 p.m. March 4.
Architectural and engineering work to design a new $100 million Frisco Performing Arts Center at Hall Park will soon be underway after the City Council and Frisco ISD trustees contracted an architectural firm on February 15.

This initial agreement is for a spatial analysis for the Performing Arts Center and Parking Garage. The scope includes determining the appropriate size and scale of the facilities which can subsequently be utilized to determine an appropriate construction budget and schedule.

The performing arts center will include a main performance hall with 1,250 to 1,500 seats and will be owned by the school district. A smaller venue, with 250 to 350 seats, will be community centric and owned by the city of Frisco. A multi-story, parking garage with 1,100 spaces will service both venues. An adjacent five-acre park will be highly programmed and feature open lawn spaces, an art pavilion, and a children’s playground.

Total budgeted cost of the performing arts center, garage and park project is $130 million, which includes $105 million in public funds. Frisco ISD is contributing $43 million in voter-approved bonds for the performing arts center, and the city and its Frisco Community Development Corporation are contributing a collective $62 million toward the total project cost. The private developer and Hall Park will provide $25 million.
The Mansfield City Council will ask Mansfield residents to consider five bond propositions totaling an estimated $155.5 million during the May 7 municipal election.

Residents will be asked to weigh capital projects including a veterans memorial, a joint recreation center and library, renovations and additions to Mansfield’s community parks, trails, and athletic facilities.

Proposition A asks for $7 million in general obligation bonds to construct a veterans memorial at Julian Feild Park. Proposition B seeks $78 million in general obligation bonds to design and construct a new joint recreation center and library.

Proposition C would provide $30 million to design and construct a 138-acre community park in southwest Mansfield and an additional $25 million in upgrades to Michael L. Skinner Sports Complex.

Proposition D asks for $10.5 million in general obligation bonds to complete the Walnut Creek Linear Trail to Mansfield’s eastern and western city limits, and to extend the Pond Branch Linear Trail from Historic Downtown Mansfield to South Main Street.

Proposition E seeks $5 million in general obligation bonds to build a barrier-free, synthetic-surface baseball facility for players of all abilities. The proposed project is planned to include a new inclusive playground, pavilion, restrooms and looped trail.
The state Broadband Development Office is developing a broadband availability map in advance of establishing a grants and application system to support applicants’ development and implementation of service.

This system will show, at the time of map creation and through updates, the availability or non-availability of broadband internet service, no matter the technology, in designated areas in the state.

Eligible areas have under 80 percent of addresses without access to broadband service or without service capable of at least 25 megabits per second (mbps) download/3mbps upload speeds.

The office, which is within the Texas Comptroller’s Office, is required to deploy the State of Texas Broadband Availability Map by January 1, 2023.
A new 10,000-seat stadium primarily for soccer in Fort Worth could be on the horizon if a partnership between the city and Keller ISD is realized.

In addition to the district’s use of the stadium, the facility would be the home of a United Soccer League (USL) team, a second-division United Super League women’s team, and a soccer development academy managed by a prominent European soccer club.

New owners at USL Championship soccer team Austin Bold FC have indicated their desire to relocate the team within Texas.

The city is surveying the public and contracting an adviser to assess the market and financial feasibility of the potential multi-use stadium and its proposed tenant USL soccer teams in Fort Worth.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) will host a pre-bid conference at 10 a.m. March 1 as it starts the “Replace Region III Training Buildings” project at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, Texas.

TDJC officials are encouraging bidders to attend because only one scheduled site visit will be held for security reasons.

This project consists of a 9,163-square-foot facility for training, including two assembly areas, and offices and workspace for training staff. This facility will include the required circulation systems, restrooms, break areas, and mechanical and electrical spaces, and is to be co-located with the existing office building on the Training Academy Campus.

Construction is to include an elevated electrical service with generator pad, new wastewater lines with lift station, repaved parking surfaces, vehicle entrances and fencing.
Five cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW) are joining efforts to promote a $36 million pedestrian and bicycle trail that will span the entire region. The plan — called the Fort Worth to Dallas Regional Trail — will connect 66 miles of otherwise segmented trails through Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving, and Dallas. 

Mayors from each of these cities, along with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the Regional Transportation Council (RTC), first began discussing plans for the consolidated trail network back in 2013. During those early discussions, the mayors of the cities also agreed to work together on branding and promoting the project. 

The plan remained largely idle for five years until the RTC approved federal funding for the trail’s design and engineering phase in 2018. The following year, the five mayors convened at NCTCOG to establish plans for implementing the trail’s continuous alignment before the end of 2023. 

During that meeting, they also established a joint promotional campaign for the trail project called the Regional Trail Branding and Wayfinding Project, which has recently begun to take shape in the area. 

In December 2021, organizers took comments on the trail’s unified brand, signage, support infrastructure, and regional safety measures as well as recommendations for the marketing and operations of the trail project. 

City leaders will finalize the public comment phase in a second virtual open house meeting this spring with trail construction set for completion in 2023. 
The Texas A&M University System board of regents on February 17 approved several construction items, including projects in Fort Worth, Bryan, Prairie View, and San Antonio.

Regents authorized construction of a second education building on Tarleton State University’s Fort Worth campus at a total cost of $66 million. Board members also authorized $7.7 million in infrastructure improvements – water, power, fiber, and sewer – for the growing RELLIS Campus in Bryan.

The board also approved construction of a $32.5 million dorm for Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Currently, the campus – with a population of almost 7,000 – has only about 380 dorm beds and a waiting list for on-campus housing. The new project would add 340 beds.

Prairie View A&M University also will receive a new $11 million fire alarm system.

In addition, the board increased the construction budget for Texas A&M’s Bright Complex to $235 million, up from $205 million, much of which will come from gifts and licensing fees.

The additional money will expand a new indoor football practice facility and academic support center. Locker rooms, player lounges, and training rooms also will be remodeled.
Gregg County will host a pre-proposal conference at 10 a.m. March 1 for a project to build a four-story parking garage with 13,701 square feet of office space in Longview.

The county has looked at alleviating the shortage of public parking spaces for the public and employees for more than 40 years. Additionally, for the past 15 years, the county has analyzed the needs of additional office space in the courthouse.

A 2015 study recommended a multi-level parking facility with the option of additional office space to alleviate any concerns for the next 20 to 30 years. In 2018, the Commissioner’s Court approved the purchase of property across from the main courthouse to allow for future expansion with these purposes.

The planned facility will accommodate about 300 parking spaces on a parcel approximately 215 feet by 155 feet at the southeast corner of Methvin and Center streets.
The Pearland City Council on February 14 shifted away from a drainage-fee proposal and decided for the city to develop a drainage bond program containing $90 million, $120 million, or $150 million in flood mitigation projects.

Staff started with the list of projects proposed with the $59 million Drainage Utility Fee and added projects such as a $10 million Shadycrest/East-West Circle project and $28 million Hickory Slough detention pond project which is currently scheduled to start design in Fiscal Year 23 with construction in FY24.

The city also used the Hurricane Harvey Report, Master Drainage Plan, and other known flooding issues to develop a tiered list of proposed projects.

A newly established advisory committee will review the proposed projects and present a recommended bond package for either November 2022 or May 2023 elections.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) will lead a panel discussion on the impact of emerging transportation technologies on education and workforce development at 6 p.m. February 24. 

NCTCOG’s Automated Vehicle 2.1 planning initiative, AV2.1, also called Connecting North Texas Communities with Emerging Transportation Technologies, will help community leaders plan for the future of transportation in the region by providing decision-makers with the data and tools necessary to assess emerging transportation technologies entering the market and design infrastructure to meet community needs.  

The discussion will focus on challenges and opportunities related to preparing students for careers associated with these technologies. The panel will additionally feature a greater emphasis on education and engagement with the region’s educators.  

A key aspect of AV2.1 is educating the public about new transportation technologies, which include:  
  • Connected vehicles.  
  • Automated vehicles. 
  • Electric and shared vehicles. 
  • High-speed rail and hyperloop. 
  • Delivery robots and drones. 
  • Air taxis. 

AV2.1’s next project phases include identifying best practices and funding opportunities, informing guidance, and preparing a final report by June. 
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner nominated engineer, community leader, and current METRO board member Sanjay Ramabhadran on February 17 to serve as the next chair of the public transit agency.   

Ramabhadran has served on the METRO board of directors since May 2015 and is the current chair of the Capital & Strategic Planning Committee and a member of the Finance & Audit Committee. 

He will replace Carrin Patman, who is stepping down following her nomination to serve as ambassador to Iceland. 
The city of Kerrville named Kim Meismer and Michael Hornes as assistant city managers.
Meismer began her career with the city of Kerrville in 2007 and has served as the director of Human Resources & Risk Management, director of General Operations, and most recently as the executive director for General Operations. Early in her career, she served the city of La Porte and also worked in the petrochemical industry.
Hornes most recently served as the assistant city manager for the city of Live Oak, Texas. Prior to that, he was city manager for the city of Palestine. He has also worked for the cities of New York and Lubbock, as well as in the oil and gas industry.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from February 11-17:

Texas Industrialized
Building Code Council
Carroll Pruitt - Azle
(11 reappointments)
Roland Brown - Midlothian
Otis Jones Jr. - Houston
Binoy Kurien - Pearland
Edward Martin - Austin
Scott McDonald - Keller
Stephen Shang - Austin
Suzanne Arnold - Garland
Janet Hoffman - Galveston
Edwin Lofton - Horseshoe Bay
John Scholl - Claude
W.F. Smith - Dripping Springs

Texas Council for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders 
Joe Evans - Beaumont (reappointed)
Eddie Patton - Houston (reappointed)

Sabine River Authority
Board of Directors
Jeanette Sterner - Holly Lake Ranch (reappointed)
Elton Brock - Marshall
Darrin Rudolph - Longview

State Board For Educator Certification 
Cristina Galindo - Houston

Continuing Advisory Committee For Special Education 
April Estrada - Wylie
Barbara Ezell - Portland
Amy Litzinger - Austin (reappointed)
Susan Nichols - Carrollton (reappointed)
Agata Thibodeaux - Katy (reappointed)
Jo Ann Garza Wofford - New Braunfels (reappointed)
Texas Comptroller’s Office – A Field Guide to the Taxes of Texas
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:

  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles – Attorney III (2 positions)

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Performance and Records Coordinator (Program Specialist IV)

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – CAPPS Accounts Examiner II-III

  • Texas Legislative Council – Content Writing Specialist

  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission – Program Specialist VII

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Database Specialist

  • Texas Water Development Board – Purchasing Manager (Contract Administration Manager I)

  • City of Leander – Human Resources Business Partner
Connect with Us

Check out our
social media links!
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives
Help us share this message.
To ensure delivery and proper formatting of the newsletter, be sure to add editor@spartnerships.com to your safe senders list. Otherwise, the newsletter may be flagged as spam and automatically routed to your junk e-mail folder.
 For news or calendar items: editor@spartnerships.com 
For information about SPI's products and services: sales@spartnerships.com
© 2022 Strategic Partnerships, Inc. All rights reserved.